Search for driver suspended after truck plunges off bridge into Chesapeake Bay

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 30, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Coast Guard officials said Tuesday evening that they have suspended their search for the driver of a box truck that plunged into the water after crashing on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

The truck crashed about 8:20 a.m. on the east side of the bridge’s northbound lanes, according to Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel officials.

Fire, police, and EMS units arrived to find the vehicle floating in the water, said Virginia Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Richard Trent.

Witnesses saw a man get out of the truck and drift westward in the water, Coast Guard officials said. It was not clear whether the driver climbed or fell out, said Petty Officer First Class Tara Molle.

Coast Guard rescuers joined with the fire department, emergency medical services and police to search for the driver.

According to several media outlets, CBBT officials identified the driver of the truck as Erik Mezick, 47, of Fruitland, Maryland.

The Virginian-Pilot reported that Mezick was driving the truck for Cloverland Greenspring Dairy, a Baltimore-based company that sells food products to hospitals, private and public schools, convenience stores and supermarkets in the mid-Atlantic region, including Virginia.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is 17.6 miles long and runs from Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore. It features two tunnels that run under the surface of Chesapeake Bay.

About 15 over-the-side crashes have occurred since 1984, according to the Virginian-Pilot.